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Column: The world is opening up, make your travel a joy

Airplane in Flight
Photo via Getty Images

The crowds are back. Airports are jammed. Theaters have few, if any, empty seats and he better restaurants are doing a booming business. And merchants in The Rockaways are looking forward to a booming summer season. But with COVID-19 numbers on the increase in some locales, take precautions.

New York City and much of the state are looking forward to a major recovery as the tourist capital of the United States. Unless something unexpected comes along, the recovery should be spectacular.

Manhattan’s restaurant and theater district have already seen a resurgence in reservations and ticket sales. In recent weeks we saw several shows (to the delight of grandkids and other family members) and were actually lucky to obtain tickets. “Come from Away” was filled to the hilt. “Aladdin” had no visible empty seats.” The only available seats for “Tina” were either in the upper deck or last two rows in the orchestra.

Dinner hour at the better eateries were much the same. Hunt & Fish Club on West 44 Street (a major celebrity magnet) was able to accommodate diners but advance reservations were strongly suggested. People come here to see their favorite athletes and movie and TV celebs, but they enjoy great meals.

On West 50th Street The Palm was another place where reservations were also strongly recommended. While it is a destination for New Yorkers, there were more than a clutch of out-of-towners. The food and staff here are amongst the best in The City and many concierges at hotels will recommend both restaurants. At The Palm tourists are made to feel like regulars with host Brian greeting them like old friends.

While Hunt & Fish Club is a celebrity draw, The Palm decorates its walls with hundreds of both celebrities and regular folk who have dined there. But the caveat is that you will have to spend a rather large sum over time to rate placement on the wall.

The Thanksgiving crush is expected to be record setting and should go a long way to helping to make up for what was lost during the pandemic. But be aware, the problem has not gone away. Anyone entering a theater or restaurant will be required to show a card indicating a full two-dose vaccination. And beyond that, you must have a photo ID or admission will be declined. Nothing like expecting to enjoy a show or great meal only to be told, if you don’t have the required documentation that you will not get past the door.

Police and Department of Public Works employees are gearing up for the next major influx… New Year’s Eve. That will follow the huge crowd lining the sidewalks of Fifth Avenue to see New York’s famed Macy’s parade. Last year it was mostly virtual. This year it will be spectacular.

Bringing in the New Year will be much the same. Record crowds are expected to jam Times Square and adjacent streets, many coming in the early part of the day to claim a perfect viewing spot. If you leave to relieve, you will have lost your place at the curb. Over the years many of the early arrivals actually wear adult diapers so as not to give up their place. That could become very uncomfortable as the day wears on and if it is cold.

Again, for both events, COVID-19 protocols will be strictly enforced. Ingress to the events will be channeled so as to have total control over who is there, and both vaccination cards and photo ID will be required. Don’t argue because you will lose. Children under five-years-old need not be vaxxed. Those who can show an exemption for religious or medical reasons will have to provide a card indicating they have taken a COVID test and were shown to be negative. That must have been done no more than 72 hours before the event. The people are required to wear a mask. Those interested in their own health might want to consider wearing a mask as well.

Disclaimer: No courtesies were provided by any of the shows or restaurants mentioned in this article. None are expected in the future.

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